Sunday, 3 April 2011

Pilots and Starlets EP
Out Now
Rating: 4.5/5

I know what you're thinking- another fucking band from Liverpool? Well, if there were less great bands from there, I'd have fewer to cover... and it's not like I haven't given Manchester a look in; the best we've currently got to offer (Black Market Serotonin, Trojan Horse, The Narrows, Patterns, Cyril Snear, From the Kites of San Quentin, Charlie Barnes [honourary Manc], Casino Zone, Advances, With That Knife, the Modern Painters, The Steals and Air Cav) have all been covered on here, and that's not even including the bands I only quite like, just the ones I really fucking like.

Anyway, on to Pteropilot. Another band from the ICO/ATQO/Battleships scene, this is probably the most accessible of the lot. Yep, there are still riffs aplenty, but there's also a bunch of really melodic stuff in the mix courtesy of delay-and-reverb heavy guitars and occasional bursts of electronics, or even (on occasion) strings. The vocals are for the most part quite restrained and buried in the mix, but given the more post-rock stylings (I'm not fucking going to say 'cinematic' or 'epic' because I'd like to believe I'm not that much of a hack) of this band, this works within the confines of the overall aesthetic. Though the verses are often quite complex and dense, for the most part the choruses are big, chordy, and well welcome for any fans of any music that came out of Seattle around 1990 (amongst whose ranks I definitely consider myself).

So, individual tracks. The Biggest Chorus of the EP award goes to 'Harakiri', while Most Structurally Interesting goes to 'Wolf Cries Wolf'. Most Catchy Main Riff for Fans of Zwan goes to the opener, 'Each the Others World Entire', and Most Bloody Massive and Sprawling definitely goes to the closer, 'The Next of Amber', which if I'm honest has a little bit of 'Music for a Nurse' about it- this obviously is no bad thing. Coincidentally it's also not a bad accompaniment to a train journey across the country, which is the setting for my scribblings today.

As I find is the case with most of the Liverpool bands I've heard, the production values are top-drawer throughout, and all of the subtle little tricks of filters or deep-in-the-mix guitars, vocal yelps, male-female vocal harmonies et al are definitely not lost on this listener. The attention to detail is fucking fantastic, and as one of those sentimental fucks that loves the album format, I especially love the feeling of being taken on a journey, of musical progression, that underpins the tracklisting and development of ideas within the narrative of the EP. It may be comparatively short, but insofar as a twenty-five minute running time can be truly immersive, it is. 


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